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SAN FRANCISCO---The personal fortune of Twitter
co-founder Evan Williams probably will take up
ten characters once the online communications
company goes public.
Williams, who was Twitter s CEO for two years
until Dick Costolo took over in 2010, owns a 12 per
cent stake that makes him the company s largest
shareholder. If Twitter turns out to be worth at least
US$17.60 per share, the initial public offering will
make Williams a billionaire at 41 years old.
Williams, a Nebraska native who now lives in San
Francisco, is likely to join the billion-dollar club
because an outside appraisal of Twitter completed
in August valued the company at $20.62 per share,
according to IPO documents unsealed Thursday. At
that price, Williams 56.9 million shares would be
worth nearly $1.2 billion.
San Francisco-based Twitter Inc hopes to raise $1
billion an offer that s expected to be completed by
Williams owns such a large stake because Twitter
was hatched within another startup called Odeo that
he launched in 2005 after leaving a job at Google
Inc. He had gone to work for Google after selling his
first hit product, Blogger, to Google for an undisclosed
amount in 2003.
Odeo, which specialised in podcasting, never caught
on and Twitter was eventually spun into Obvious
Corp, another company run by Williams.
Although Williams is no longer Twitter s chief
executive, he remains on the company s board of
directors. Another board member, Peter Fenton, and
his venture capital firm, Benchmark Capital, own a
Evan Williams may
be worth $1bn after IPO
NEW YORK---A bankrupt electronics retailer
appears to have gotten caught up in the investor
fervour for Twitter.
Shares of Tweeter Home Entertainment Group
Inc rose as high as 15 cents Friday. That s up 1,400
per cent from Thursday s closing price of 1 cent.
And trading volume skyrocketed to 14.4 million
shares. Over the past year, the daily average was
about 29,000, according to FactSet.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority,
Wall Street s industry regulator, said the shares
were halted on Friday afternoon because of a mis-
understanding related to the "possible initial public
offering of an unrelated security."
What could have gotten investors so confused?
Tweeter trades over the counter, under the
Twitter on Thursday offered investors details
about its highly anticipated IPO and proposed the
stock symbol "TWTR."
But San Francisco-based Twitter s stock won t
be available for trading until the company actually
goes public. That could be before Thanksgiving
Day in late November.
Twitter has about 218 million, far fewer than
Facebook, which has more than 1 billion. But
celebrities, from Oprah Winfrey to Britney Spears
to President Barack Obama, are on it. And many
TV networks and news organisations encourage
people to follow their Twitter pages in order to
start a conversation. (AP)
6.7 per cent stake in the company.
Next in line with a 4.9 per cent stake
is Jack Dorsey, who came up for the
idea for Twitter with Noah Glass and
Biz Stone. The stakes of Glass and Stone
aren t listed in the IPO documents,
meaning they don t own enough stock
to trigger legal disclosures.
Glass came up with the original name
"Twttr" in a reference to chirping birds.
Despite his early involvement in Twitter,
Glass was never promoted as one of
the company s founders along with
Dorsey, Stone and Williams.
Other investors who own at least a
five per cent stake in Twitter include
private investment firm Rizvi Traverse,
which backed Hugh Hefner s successful
bid to take Playboy private two years
ago, as well as Spark Capital, Bench-
mark Capital Partners and Union Square
Ventures. DST Global, a London-based
investment firm founded by Russian
investor Yuri Milner, is another stake-
holder. DST, which focuses its invest-
ments on Internet companies, was pre-
IPO investor in Facebook.
Twitter s current CEO, former
improvisational comedian Dick Costolo,
owns a 1.6 per cent stake in the com-
pany. Many of Twitter s 2,000 employ-
ees could become rich, too. They won t
be allowed to sell their stock until Feb-
ruary 15, at the earliest. (AP)
You say Twitter,
I say Tweeter:
Twitter co-founder and former CEO Evan Williams. AP PHOTO
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